Leandro Higo’s head coach, Thiago Tourao, explains why his fighter missed weight ahead of his Bellator 177 fight against bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas.
Leandro Higo accepted a Bellator MMA bantamweight title shot against champion Eduardo Dantas on short notice in what would be his debut with the organization. But Higo as champ was simply not meant to be — at least not yet.
Higo missed weight, tipping the scales at 139 pounds (four pounds overweight), on Thursday ahead of his Bellator 177 main event bout in Budapest, Hungary. Higo will still compete on Friday, but now in a three-round, non-title fight.
Higo’s head coach, Thiago Tourao, told BloodyElbow.com in a statement that Higo was heavier than usual when he accepted the Dantas fight last month. That, alongside issues cutting weight just prior to weigh-ins, contributed to the Brazilian being overweight.
“Leandro was a bit heavy when we got the news of the fight due to some issues he had in his last fight,” Tourao said. “His weight started coming out well and then it started dropping more slowly. We got to Budapest a few pounds over his usual weight on fight week, but he was cutting each day the amount designed according to his schedule. This morning things got a bit tougher.”
Tourao, the rest of Higo’s team, and Higo himself all believe that had Higo been allowed to have a second attempt on the scale, he would have been able to cut the remaining four pounds.
“One factor was the Mohegan Commission not allowing him to re-weigh in due to being three percent over weight,” he said. “We still believe he would have made it if he was allowed to go back in the bathtub. But we understand their reasoning and worries and we accept it. It’s just very unfortunate. No one deserves this more than Leandro and I have yet to hear about a fighter with as much bad luck as he has.”
Tourao ultimately understands that fighter safety comes before everything, even world titles, so “it is what it is,” he stated.
“The commission is doing a great job and with all the recent news on extreme weight cuts they’re even more worried about fighter safety,” Tourao sad.
The Pitbull Brothers head coach expects his fighter to get the job done at Bellator 177 and then fight Dantas again later this year — but in a five-round title fight the second time around.
“Leandro has a bright future ahead,” he said. “Eduardo Dantas is a great challenge, but I have faith he’ll be able to get the win tomorrow and then rematch Dantas with the belt on the line a few months from now.”
Bellator 177 takes place at Budapest Sports Arena and will air on tape delay on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.